County offers discount transit passes to low-income residents


Santa Clara County Supervisor Dave Cortese and San Jose City Councilman Sam Liccardo joined a charity group Thursday to announce the start of

a two-year pilot program offering discount transit passes for county residents with low incomes.

Cortese and Liccardo each spoke at a brief gathering at Sacred Heart Community Service at 1381 S. First St. in San Jose meant to celebrate the new transit pass program, Cortese spokeswoman Janice Rombeck said.

People Acting in Community Together, a community services agency that has advocated for discounted transit for low-income residents, organized the event, according to Monika Kessling, a PACT spokeswoman.

The Emergency Assistance Network, a group of seven charities in the county, will give out the monthly passes to qualified applicants for $25 instead of $70 charged by the Santa Clara Valley Transportation Authority, VTA spokeswoman Brandi Childress said.

To qualify for the reduced fare, applicants must earn less than 200 percent of the poverty level, Childress said.

The U.S. poverty level for one person is $11,490 or less in earnings per year, according the U.S. Department of Health and Human

Services' website.

The program was approved Aug. 1 by the VTA's board of directors at the urging of Cortese, who like Liccardo is a member of the board, Childress said.

The board had earlier rejected Cortese's proposal, she said.

The pilot plan, called the Transit Assistance Program, is funded by a $1.3 million grant from the Metropolitan Transportation Commission, Childress said.

The board set aside 24,000 of the $25 passes for qualified low-income people for the next two years, or 1,000 passes each month,

she said.

The charities to give out the passes include Community Services of Mountain View-Los Gatos, Sacred Heart Community Service, InnVision, Salvation Army, Sunnyvale Community Services, West Valley Community Services and Gilroy-based St. Joseph's Family.

Kessling said that Sacred Heart and InnVision, both of San Jose, already have started taking applications for the passes.

"They will evaluate the people who apply for it," she said.

The passes will come as a relief to people with low incomes faced with paying $6 for a one-day pass to take a VTA bus or light rail train, Kessling said.

The VTA currently sells $25 passes to students, seniors and people with disabilities.

— Bay City News Service


Like this comment
Posted by Doug Pearson
a resident of Blossom Valley
on Sep 7, 2013 at 11:12 am

I like this idea. Perhaps the Community Services Agency could be a sales agent in Mountain View, depending on how "qualified low-income people" are identified.

The bus is an alternative to driving for a growing number of people and these low-rate fares should help bring in more riders--something VTA needs.

Full disclosure: I'm a Senior and don't drive any more. The Senior fare (also $25/month) is a very low cost way for me to commute to and from work.

Don't miss out on the discussion!
Sign up to be notified of new comments on this topic.


Post a comment

Posting an item on Town Square is simple and requires no registration. Just complete this form and hit "submit" and your topic will appear online. Please be respectful and truthful in your postings so Town Square will continue to be a thoughtful gathering place for sharing community information and opinion. All postings are subject to our TERMS OF USE, and may be deleted if deemed inappropriate by our staff.

We prefer that you use your real name, but you may use any "member" name you wish.

Name: *

Select your neighborhood or school community: * Not sure?

Comment: *

Verification code: *
Enter the verification code exactly as shown, using capital and lowercase letters, in the multi-colored box.

*Required Fields

Truckee cafe to expand to Menlo Park
By Elena Kadvany | 2 comments | 4,260 views

Attraction to a Person Outside Your Relationship
By Chandrama Anderson | 0 comments | 1,259 views


Top restaurants to check out

Mountain View Voice readers have officially decided. See which local restaurants and businesses can now claim the title — Best Of Mountain View 2017.

View Winners